Toronto Island Escape Package

The ultimate staycation in Toronto is as close as the Toronto Island. Get away from the city and escape to the  Toronto Islands with us, going where no cars are allowed, aboard the Boatel surrounded by trees.  Once again the Boatel will offer … Continue reading

May 29 – Dundalk, MD

Anchor Bay East Marina

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
―T. S. Eliot


We had a beautiful day to travel up the Chesapeake to the Baltimore area. There were boats….EVERYWHERE. Between it being a beautiful Sunday and a holiday weekend the bay was full of sailboats, jet boats, fishing boats and cruisers…plus people actually doing a little work, like cargo ships and crabbers.
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Memorial Day – Some gave all…

Memorial Day, a federal holiday in the United States. Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember military personnel that died serving in the armed forces. Yesterday, while in New Bern, North Carolina, I visited the National Cemetery. From Wikipedia:  “The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after […]

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May 28 – Annapolis, MD

City Mooring Field

“I hope there are days when you fall in love with being alive. I hope a part of your heart lives there forever.” –Anonymous 

The swells coming into the harbor from the Chesapeake and the wind have made it very rolly and uncomfortable in the mooring field the last few days. So this morning we decided to move to a different mooring ball further up Spa Creek. It’s very peaceful up here surrounded by beautiful homes. We felt like we were in a small lake and we enjoyed watching the paddle boarders and kayakers enjoying the day…very calming and peaceful over the craziness in the front mooring field on Memorial Day weekend.
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The Jupiter Exploration Program

We decided to execute on the mission of sending two people to Jupiter and safely returning them to Florida. We got back in the same day, hardly used any fuel, and didn’t even have to go into orbit. Jupiter, Florida is about six miles north of Soverel Harbour Marina—we went by tender along the intracoastal…

May 27 – Annapolis, MD

City Mooring Field

I really enjoy walking around old towns, soaking in the sights and trying to imagine what it would have been like on that same street 50, 100 or even 200 years ago. Wondering just how the same old buildings looked and what life was like for those that lived there. Here are a few of the old buildings we have seen this week

A view from the State House over looking the harbor in 1906

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Ketchikan to Petersburg

The theme on this leg of our cruise was bears. In all three stops along Behm Canal, Yes Bay, Fitzgibbon Cove and Walker Cove, we saw brown bears on the beach grazing on grass or plowing the tide flats for morsels.

2016-05-042xIn Walker Cove we were able to snag the USFS provided mooring buoy and get great views of a mother and her cub on the beach.  We really got our money’s worth when a male bear came onto the other end of the beach and proceeded to chase the other two off.

2016-05-035xWhile in Walker Cove, we were joined on the buoy by Seaducktress, a trawler from the same boatyard in China as ours.  The weather was stunning so we had happy hour on our flybridge and watched the nature show taking place around us.

2016-05-061xWhile paddling in Yes Bay, as we were returning to the boat from a kayak paddle, we saw a bear on the beach a little over a quarter mile away.  As I was watching, we saw it approach the shore then enter the water.  Soon it was just a head bobbing along in the bay.  We reboarded our boat and watched the bear swim across the bay, passing about 150 yards off of our stern.

We did some crabbing and prawning along the way and were successful enough to put a number of meals on the table.  Our crabbing was hampered by the refusal of the outboard on our dinghy to start after having worked fine a number of times already this cruise.  The problem was resolved while we visited our friends Pete and Brenda who have a cabin on a bay 10 miles NE of Ketchikan.  Pete successfully diagnosed the problem as old gas and fixed it by replacing all of the old gas from the system with fresh.

2016-05-068xOur prawning has been mediocre compared to last year.  We haven’t had any stellar hauls of prawns and have been plagued by small Dungeness crabs climbing into the pots and scaring the prawns off.  We even had a small octopus in one of our pots take a ride to the surface when we hauled it up.

From here we’ll work our way to Sitka stopping at some of our favorite spots. Besides the crab and prawn traps, Marcia will probably be dropping a hook in the water to try her luck fishing.

Cruising the St. John’s River

Well, not really cruising.  You don’t cruise at 30 knots.The last time we were on the St. John’s, we traveled from Jacksonville to Green Cove Springs to have Drift Away hauled out.  It was the end of our voyage, and a most certainly bitter-sw…

May 26 – Annapolis, MD

City Mooring Field

“One must travel, to learn.” —Mark Twain

Annapolis has been home to the United States Naval Academy since 1845. It was established under Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft and is the second oldest of the United States’ five service academies, and educates officers for commissioning primarily into the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. Today we went to the academy to watch the color parade held at Worden Field. The Color Parade is the oldest parade at the U.S. Naval Academy, a tradition that began in 1867.
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CRUISING AT LAST

Envoy is now anchored at Argostoli, Cephalonia Island.

Sorry it’s been nearly three weeks since the last post – I’ll make it about weekly from now on.

We finally leave Lefkas Marina on Saturday 30 April with no particular technical issues except that our Robertson autopilot and rudder position indicator is intermittently not working. This is strange as it worked fine when we launched Envoy and later when we did our sea trial with Sailand engineers aboard, but it seems to have settled down since and is working fine now.
It’s early in the cruising season with hardly any cruisers around and a lot of tavernas and shops not open yet – but all that will change in the next couple of weeks.

Here is a great poem about going back to sea – a bit of poetic license on our part as Envoy isn’t exactly a “bark” but the feeling is the same.

My bounding bark, I fly to thee, I’m wearied of the shore;
I long to hail the swelling sea, And wander free once more:
A sailor’s life of reckless glee, That only is the life for me!
I was not born for fashion’s slave, Or the dull city’s strife;
Be mine the spirit-stirring wave, The roving sailor’s life:
A life of freedom on the sea, That is the only life for me!
I was not born for lighted halls, Or the gay revel’s round;
My music is where Ocean calls, And echoing rocks resound:
The wandering sailor’s life of glee, That is the only life for me!
Anon

After a shake-down cruise around some favorite destinations close to Lefkas we set off for Corfu about 65 miles north.
I wasn’t keen to test the water maker in the slightly contaminated waters of Lefkas Marina so test it in the crystal clear waters of Lakka Bay at Paxxos island. The procedure is to run the system with no pressure for 10 minutes to clear out the pickling chemicals used at the end of last season to protect the high pressure membrane, and then to run it normally. However the pump supplying sea water to the system wasn’t working so we put this on the short list of items to resolve at Gouvia Marina.
We also find a very small sea water leak to the forward bilge, which I think is coming from the aircon’s cooling water supply, so we’ve closed the seacock to see if this stops it.

Easter is celebrated later in Greece than other countries and in the small village of Lakka we’re able to see the local people marching to the stirring music of their band parading religious relics through the streets. Greece is still a country with strong traditional family and religious values and this is very apparent to us as we observe this long-practised ritual.

Easter parade at Paxxos Island

View of Envoy in the tranquil waters of Lakka, Paxxos Island

So far we’ve been towing our larger Nautica RHIB with the 25hp Yamaha and now want to lift it aboard. We recently replaced our stainless steel 3-wire lifting strop with one made using three high tensile polymer lines, and as the RHIB weighs about 250kg we want to test the whole system before lifting it too high out of the water – if one of the two boom winch cables or the lifting strop were to break it could be extremely dangerous. So the test is to lift the RHIB clear of the water and then for Diane and I to stand in it together with about 50 litres of water in two jerrycans providing in total about an additional 190kg. The system successfully handles this additional weight so we proceed to lift the RHIB with confidence and without problems.

In early May we enter Corfu’s Gouvia Marina – one of our favorites.
Here we’re meeting our friend Chris – our first visitor of the season. Chris is also known as “MacGyver” due to his special technical skills, and he quickly gets stuck into a multitude of jobs which I’ll detail in the next posting.

The local people are rather upset that the seamen who man the inter-island ferries are on a three-day strike for higher wages. Not only do the residents of Greece’s many islands rely on the ferries for transportation but there is a calamitous effect on the tourist trade which provides a large slice of Greece’s income. Even the supermarkets started to run out of some food items.

Engineer Angelos checks the water maker and confirms what we knew – the sea water pump dating from 2002 isn’t working. He removes it to his workshop and later reports the pump is too far gone to repair, especially for such an old unit and we opt for a new one at eye-watering expense to be sent down from Athens. After that’s installed the water maker works fine.

Angelos with new sea water pump for water maker (no wonder he’s smiling)

We also get contractors to clean the guest toilet holding tank’s level indicator, which has stopped working. The job entails removing the head as the holding tank is located underneath it. The level indicator has not been checked for at least 10 years and its float switch is found to be still in working order but needing a good clean.
While aboard they also dismantle, service and reassemble the master head, but it still doesn’t work correctly when discharging directly overboard. There appears to be a blockage in the discharge hose close to the seacock so we will use it only discharging to its holding tank, which is then emptied using a different through-hull fitting.

Contractors working on our main head

This is work-in-progress and the next step is to insert our portable LED-lit waterproof inspection camera (a gift from our great friend Frank) into the seacock from the outside.